SHOPPERS and students braved thoroughly miserable weather to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Youngsters from Hummersknott and Polam Hall Schools, in Darlington, staged colourful displays in the town centre on Friday (January 31).

There was a merry atmosphere at Joseph Pease Place, where students from Hummersknott presented various traditional Chinese performances, the highlight of which was an exciting Chinese dragon dance.

About 20 students used a huge paper dragon to complete the colourful and raucous display which was well received by the gathered crowd.

Other Hummesrsknott students performed an impressive lion dance to scare away bad sprits, staged tai chi and seven brave girls sang a traditional Chinese song.

Jenny Wong, subject leader in Mandarin said: “The children have done very well, there’s real enthusiasm to study Chinese at Hummersknott and we now have more than 70 students.”

Students from Polam Hall wrote celebratory messages using their impressive calligraphy skills which were snapped up by visitors to their market stall.

The school has quite a large Chinese presence with about 25 Chinese students attending.

Councillor Nick Wallis, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for leisure and local environment, said: “There are lots of opportunities in Darlington for people to get creative and join in the arts.

“I am delighted that the spectacle of Chinese New Year once again came to the town and I’m glad lots of people came out to support the pupils and join in the celebrations.”

2014 is the Chinese year of the horse which is characterised by energetic and active individuals.